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Windows 8.1 Update 1: New Taskbar Features for Modern Apps

When we took a look at what to expect from Windows 8.1 Update 1, and there’s several new taskbar options you can use between the Modern Windows and traditional desktop environments. You can pin Modern apps from the Start screen to the taskbar, display it while using Modern apps, or not show Modern apps at all. Here’s a closer look at how it works.

Windows 8.1 Update 1 New Taskbar Options

Arguably the best new feature is the ability to pin Modern apps to the desktop taskbar easily. Simply right-click an app’s live tile.

pin from Start

Or from the Apps view you can do the same.

pin to taskbar

One of the options I like the most is the ability to see live previews of Modern apps. For example, here I’m working on the desktop and I can see what apps are doing – similar to the Live Tile experience on the Start screen. And in this case, with Xbox Music, I can control playback. Since I gave up MOG after it went to Beats Music, I moved to Xbox Music, and while not a huge revision, it makes using it so much easier. It’s a lot like using Windows Media Player or VLC from the taskbar while working from the desktop.

Music

You couldn’t do that before the update.

Before Update

If you want to see the taskbar while using a Modern app, move the mouse to the bottom of the screen and it will pop up.

sshot-1

So what if you don’t want to see Modern apps on the taskbar at all? Well, first you don’t want to pin any to it in the first place. And second, right-click the taskbar, select Properties, and under the Taskbar tab, uncheck Show Windows Store apps on the taskbar.

don't display moder apps

The goal of this new update is to make the traditional desktop and Modern UI to work together more fluidly – especially on a traditional PC with mouse and keyboard. Previously the Metro / Modern UI was an afterthought for me while using my desktop computer. But since using the Update 1 RTM, I find that I’m using the Modern environment more and more.

And really, you owe it to yourself to check out the Bing apps that are built-in and those in the Windows Store. They’re well designed, have a lot of cool features, and now their easier to use with your mouse.

What do you think of the new features coming in Windows 8.1 Update 1? Leave a comment and let us know!

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2 Responses to Windows 8.1 Update 1: New Taskbar Features for Modern Apps

  1. johnl March 12, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

    I have Windows 8.1 on all of the computers I use. It runs very nicely, very quick and 100% stable. I di have to admit that I see the metro/modern side as an afterthought, a diversion if you like. I have not seen any app yet that is a must have. I look at the weather app and the maps app but as a general rule there are no others I bother with. When I first got onto 8.1 I downloaded loads of apps that sounded good but later turned out to be crap. Nearly all of the pre-installed apps I deleted as, to me, they were complete rubbish. The Finance app, the Camera app, the People app, the Vdeo app, the Pictures app, the PDF app (truly appalling) and loads of others were removed straight away. The fact is that there are very few apps that can match a standard desktop application. I should add that I may be different to many of your readers in that I will not have anything to do with Social Networking, I don’t see the point in Skype and I don’t regularly listen to music. What I am getting at is that the update seems to concentrate on the Metro/Modern side rather than, what I find, the practical working side of Windows 8.1 which is the desktop side. Microsoft just does not seem to get that people tend to use the desktop side of the operating system to get anything done so they really need to cater for their customers and not what they want people to do.

    • Brian Burgess March 12, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

      With Update 1 I find it much easier to use the modern apps while on the desktop, of course I do have a multi-monitor set up…which makes it much easier.

      But I agree the Weather app is amazing. I urge people to take a look at how much several of the Bing apps have improved. The Health & Fitness is one that comes to mind.

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